Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mount Diablo - California

Mount Diablo Summit Trail Hike
Mount Diablo State Park
Danville, California
Mileage - 9.1
Time - 3:00
AEG - 2,465ft

Obsessed might be the best way to describe my infatuation with Mount Diablo.  Ever since I moved here two months ago, this peak has been staring me down every day from across the San Francisco bay. Undoubtedly the most recognizable formation in the area and 42nd on the California prominent peak list, Mount Diablo State Park is also a hub for outdoor recreation.  Hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding are very popular here as well as those enjoying the scenic drive to the top.  I chose to earn that view on my feet. 

The summit trail begins from the Rock City/Live Oak Campground on South Gate Road at approximately 1,650 feet above sea level.  There are a couple places to start and the route may be a bit confusing at first. If you follow the Rock City (Trail Through Time) path it will lead you to the actual summit trail within a half mile and then there is no mistaking where to go.  That would be up!  I've yet to hike all of the trails to the summit, though this one appears to be the most straight forward, no nonsense approach.  The down side is how close you stay to civilization as you work your way up those steep exposed ridgelines.  The summit trail continually zig-zags along South Gate Road to the very last step before you reach the observation deck on the summit at 3,849 feet.  What might you find there?  How about the most expansive view in the United States.  I've read claims of being able to see 40 counties and that the view is only second to that of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  I'm not sure if that's true or not, I will say that the view is unlike anything I have ever seen before. There were mountains in the Sierra Nevadas, as far as 180 miles away, that were visible to the naked eye. That's impressive!

I spent an unusually long time at the top soaking it all in, taking pictures, reading placards, exploring the easy loop trails around the peak and of course buying magnets in the gift shop.  For such a major peak so close to one of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, there was very little information about the trails.  I bought a topographic map and plan to hike North Peak from the Mitchell Canyon trailhead upon my return.    

Possibly my favorite view of North Peak and the Sierras

An alternate route down the mountain on the Juniper/Summit Trail

Panorama shot of the San Fancisco bay area

Another successful summit trip!

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